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Hoke downplays impact of Meyer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- In his first season at Michigan, Brady Hoke beat Ohio State. Now he'll have a new rival with the Buckeyes.

Urban Meyer.

And the two are remarkably similar in how they reached this point.

Both grew up in Ohio and started as head coaches in the Mid-American Conference -- Meyer at Bowling Green and Hoke at Ball State -- followed by the Mountain West, with Meyer at Utah and Hoke at San Diego State. The main difference is Meyer won two national titles at Florida.

But they've never coached against each other in the same conference -- that will change in the 2012 season. And to Hoke, that's the big thing: They are coaching, not playing.

"He's not going to play a down and neither am I," Hoke said. "Me, knowing Urban, he's a good football coach, good guy, going to welcome him in. But this is still Michigan and Ohio and it's still going to be that rivalry and neither one of us is going to play a game."

Where the coaches might matter more is on the recruiting trail. In Hoke's first full class, he so far has nine commitments from Ohio.

Hoke wouldn't say that Meyer's arrival will make it more difficult for Michigan to recruit.

"I don't think that matters," Hoke said. "There's a lot of respect, two tremendous universities."

He also had a message he delivered Saturday to outgoing Ohio State coach Luke Fickell at midfield following Michigan's 40-34 win over the Buckeyes.

"I just said I thought he did a heck of a job all year," Hoke said. "Tough situation."

Last year the coaches in this rivalry were Rich Rodriguez and Jim Tressel. This year they were Fickell and Hoke.

Going forward it's Hoke and Meyer. If this game had lost any of its luster nationally in recent seasons, surely the restoration has begun.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. He can be reached at michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com or on Twitter @mikerothstein.